28 years ago, on 4 February 1989 in Legnica, Jaworzyńska street, Lemko patriots gathered to discuss the possibility of establishing the first independent Lemko/Rusyn organization after the WWII and exile. This meeting, as it turned out soon, gave birth to the Lemko Association.
Whatever you may say about the Association nowadays, it is the first Lemko organization that directly catalysed development of activities in various parts of Poland where Lemkos had been resettled. It was mostly the Association that struggled and nowadays is also struggling for the Lemko language, its status as a minority language and its presence in schools (at all the levels of education), as well as points of teaching the language by the Association’s circles.
In 1991 the Association co-founded the World Rusyn Congress and showed the way after difficult years of communism so that Rusyns from all countries where they were autochthons, could keep in touch, cooperate and, most of all, have the sense of unity.
Many people fault the Association for not having done some things, or not having done as they should. But do these people think of how much good the Association has done and that if it had not been for it, not even the things mentioned here would be done. It is necessary to acknowledge the contribution of the Association to the development of Lemko culture, language and the national identity, and all of this started 28 years ago. Since the beginning of its activity, the Association has been led by Andrzej Kopcza together with a whole group of other members and supporters.
Above: the first edition of the “Besida” magazine, published by the Lemko Association since the beginning of 1989. From the very beginning the chief editor has been Piotr Trochanowski.